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All right everybody. Back at you with another awesome interview today. This one is with my long-time close personal friend Craig Ballantyne, a guy who has helped inspire me, helped motivate me, taught me, someone who has done the same for countless others. I’m lucky to call Craig a good friend that I can count on for advice, tips, whatever at any time. Recently our good buddy, our mutual friend, Bedros Keuilian was running the Fitness Business Summit in Costa Mesa, California. Craig and I slipped off into a private room and hit the record button and picked up where we left off last time. So I hope you guys enjoy it and I look forward to hearing all of your feedback.
But before I get to that, I just have to remind you very quickly to check out Onnit Total Human Optimization. Go to Onnit.com/Renegade for all your fitness and supplement needs. It’s what I use, it’s a company and products I believe in so definitely check them out at Onnit.com/Renegade and use the coupon code RENEGADE at checkout to save 10%. Here’s Craig.
Jason: All right, back again with my good buddy, Craig Ballantyne. Last time, we finished off talking about a lot of fitness and life stuff. We’re going to get more into the life stuff but what I want to start with Craig is you started your career, the way we became friends was obviously through the fitness industry. You were mainly just a fitness guy and then you transitioned more into marketing stuff and business stuff, especially as it relates to online business and marketing. So talk about the impetus to do that and how you became so passionate about it.
Craig: What does the word “impetus” mean?
Jason: It’s when my—extensive work.
Craig: Oh well. Well, that hasn’t started happening yet to me so I guess what really moved me in there—I always wanted to do the online stuff. I’m definitely a nerd at heart. What really started me down the online stuff was actually 1998, I was still in college and that’s when I first found TMG. When I saw TMG, they were selling supplements and stuff and those were good days. They had really good newsletters back then. I was always waiting. It was Friday afternoon and that thing showed up. But when I saw them posting content, I was like I can write content, too, so I just started doing that. I literally started a newsletter that was manually sent to all these people that said hey, if you’re going to write this newsletter, put me on it.
Jason: Did you email them one by one?
Craig: No, I was doing it through Hotmail and putting them in—
Jason: Oh, like BCC?
Craig: Yeah, but you could only put 50 people in there at a time. I had that email list of up to 3,000 people in like a couple years but that’s like 60 emails. You’re copying and pasting that.
Jason: And you were just doing that yourself. You didn’t have anyone helping you at the time?
Craig: No, and all those newsletters—and some of them were really good because you know I interviewed like Mike Boyle and Cosgrove and this is like 2000, 2001.
Jason: So at that time, how did you start getting to know those guys? Just email them saying—?
Craig: Yeah. I can talk about that in a second but I just wanted like—if people want to go back to see what those guys were saying in 2000, go to CBAthletics.com and there’s 110 newsletters on there. It will also show you like how not to write newsletters because they’re all like science-y and stuff. So I’ve learned—people did like them but you’re not going to grow a huge business that way. So I wrote those and doing that newsletter was how I got started in Men’s Health because I sent one of those to Lou Schuler.
Jason: You sent a request to interview him or—?
Craig: No. In 2000, I was looking for jobs on the NSCA website and Lou had a post there about, I’m the editor of Men’s Health and we’re looking for people to submit stuff. So I took this newsletter that I had written on shoulder training and I emailed it to him. He’s like, okay, that’s cool; we’re going to put that in the magazine. So anytime anyone ever asked me like, how can I get published in the magazine I’m like don’t ask me because I just emailed to Schuler and that’s not how it works anymore. But that’s how it worked for me.
Like we talked about in the last call, I’m pretty introverted by nature. I had met a few people but mostly once you get one or two good interviews you can kind of just say hey, I interviewed this person and you can just email somebody. So you can meet a lot of people through email alone. Yeah, that’s what I did and then I wrote all those newsletters. So started the newsletter in ’99. I didn’t really have a website up until 2001 but then we put all those issues up. Then I put my first kind of e-commerce site up in 2003 in September.
Jason: The first website, was it Website Wizard? Is that what we were all on?
Craig: Yeah, so Website Wizard was 2003 which was a service from GetResponse actually, same company.
Jason: Oh, I didn’t realize that.
Craig: Yeah, and it enabled and allowed you to just put stuff up and you didn’t have to know any code or anything. So I started selling Turbulence Training in 2003 for $9.95 with no pictures or anything in it. It was just a word document but for people that want to get started, that’s what I tell them. Don’t try and make this crazy thing. It’s just get started. Get some sales. Next month, it had photos and it was $19.95 and then so on and so on. So I always wanted to do that. That was really the end goal for me. It was always to get to that.
From 2003 to 2005, that’s when John Berardi started getting going so I was getting some promotions with John on his gourmet nutrition book. That’s how I got started. By the end of 2005, I think it was over a hundred grand and a year online but I was still training probably 20 hours a week. Then in 2006, that’s when I hired my first business coach and he helped me put up the stuff to get the marketing together properly.
Jason: Yeah, I remember that.
Craig: Yeah, so it was 2006 that I was able to stop training full time. Basically, what I did for people that are looking to basically do anything, even if you’re like thinking of moving from a real job to personal training which is also a real job I suppose, then I recommend just doing a couple of hours at a time. What I did as a personal trainer was I cleared my Thursday afternoon schedule and then I was able to have four hours in. When you get batched time, you’re going to have so much more success doing something. So I batched the time there. Then I got rid of Tuesday and Thursday morning because I realized that all my ideas were coming to me in the morning. That was one of the reasons I realized I’m a morning person. So I got rid of a couple of mornings so Tuesday and Thursday are now completely free. Then I got rid of all the afternoons of Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then a couple of my clients just happened to move out of town and I didn’t replace them. Then by the summer of 2006, it was down to like three hours.
I still had a couple of guinea pigs but other than that, that’s how I moved away from that. Then in 2006, I got that success, really exponentially increased my sales. And it was 2007 that I decided to get what I called my PhD in internet marketing. So that’s when I joined Yanik Silver’s Mastermind Group. That’s when I started going to a lot more seminars and that’s when Yanik told me, encouraged me to have my own seminar which was what I had in the fall of 2007.
Jason: Where was that?
Craig: That was at the PGA resort in Fort Lauderdale because I hired Heather Krueger who’s an amazing event coordinator. She did Yanik’s events back then and she found the location. We had 53 trainers there and I showed them how to get started online. It’s pretty interesting to see like the people who were at that event. Brad Pilon was there. John Barban was there. Vinnie was there. That was when Vince Del Monte stood up in front of the room and said six months from now, he’s going to have the number one muscle-building product in ClickBank and he did. He also said that he was an anal freak. But what he meant was he was anal retentive but Vince is just the master of like letting things come out the wrong way out of his mouth. So he said to me on the microphone, “I’m an anal freak.” It didn’t really sound great but he was there. Dr. Kareem was there. Cosgrove and Rachel were there. So there was a lot of really successful people that you’d recognize that were there at that event. We filmed that and sold those as DVDs and Isabel De Los Rios—
Jason: What was that called?
Craig: Online Super Profits, the name of the newsletter I still send to you. Isabel bought those DVDs and then she joined my mastermind group which I was running back then. She had to borrow—
Jason: Were you just doing that solo?
Craig: Lopez was in it and even Geary was at that live event.
Jason: Crazy, the amount of super successful people that you helped from that! Unbelievable.
Craig: And then you and I think first met at Ryan Lee’s in 2006.
Jason: But we were friends for a couple of years before that.
Craig: Oh yeah.
Jason: Like 2003 because I was writing for Lee. I was writing the sport specific column when you and I used to talk about that. That was 2001 or ’02 or ’03, something like that?
Craig: Yeah, when I interview you I’ve got the exact story on how we came to know the legend of Jason Ferruggia because there is a specific email that me and my buddy Anthony Belza who’s a strength coach in the Maples Leafs now. We both got this email. We came to the gym the next day where we both were trainers and we were like, did you read that email from Ferruggia? What a story! We’ve got to meet this guy because it was just so bizarre. It was a classic Ferruggia story. So that’s the impetus of—not the impotence—of how I came to be online. There’s more to the story, too, but Ryan Lee was around before and having events. We both thank Ryan a lot for the help that we gave us for sure.
Jason: Absolutely. I’ve got a follow up question. There were 53 people there. Right now we’re at Fitness Business Summit where there are 700 people. What do you think is the secret sauce or the formula, the factor that makes us talk about Isabel and Geary and Vinnie and those guys and the other 40 people never do anything, and here probably quite honestly 600 people will not be heard of in three years? What is it that it really takes to make that difference?
Craig: Well, it’s probably most of these people are going to just be overwhelmed by the information. They’re going to take a shotgun approach. They’re going to spend an hour this week on an info product and then they’re going to spend an hour next week trying to be like CrossFit in their boot camp. Then the next week they’re going to jump to something else. So it’s not having that focus I think because a lot of people have the energy and a lot of people have the will to help a lot of people but they get frustrated because they never get traction.
There’s definitely research out there that shows for employees if they don’t have a sense of progress in the business, they get really frustrated. So in my business I’m always writing about the progress we’re making when I’m updating the team and when we’re coaching people, like coaching our team members. It’s always like you made this progress from last week. If it’s small, if it’s big, it doesn’t matter but they have to be able to see progress in order to keep that motivation and going. That’s probably what we’ll see here.
Then there are some people that they say they’re into it and they’re really not, but that’s like our clients as well. You get people who come. “Oh yeah, I want to lose 20 pounds” and then they disappear and then they come back next January, same thing but their heart’s not in it. Maybe it takes them like five times. It’s the same with somebody who would quit smoking. Don’t get upset at yourself if you don’t make it the first time. People don’t quit smoking the first time in most cases so just keep going at it.
Jason: What would you say to someone listening, and a lot of people are going to leave this weekend thinking okay, I’m starting, I’m transitioning out of my 9 to 5 job or whatever the case may be, they leave thinking Monday, okay, I should start a YouTube channel, start a podcast, I should start a really good blog, I should do Instagram or I should do an e-book. What do you tell them?
Craig: Oh, you’ve got to be realistic and honest. I’m not sure if we talked about my 5 pillars last time. I have 5 pillars of transforming your life in any way.
Jason: I think we did.
Craig: Right, so you got better planning and preparation so you have to plan where am I actually going to do all this stuff because you can go down that rabbit hole of doing all those things.
Jason: Yeah, because there’s a million things you can do, which I recommend the book The One Thing all the time to get that in people’s heads.
Craig: Yeah, and I think the advice I give is the same. I gave it on stage today – everybody has a specific method that’s going to work best for their schedule and their personality. If you are great at video and you want to be in front of the camera all the time, don’t try to write a blog. It’s not going to work for you, it’s going to be painful for you.
Jason: Yeah, I know a lot of people do that and it is painful and I said, why? Why even bother?
Craig: Right, there are so many other ways of doing things now. You should go and do YouTube and not do anything else. Then there are guys like you who should never be on camera. I can’t even believe we’re doing this face to face. How am I managing to answer these questions?
Jason: You just look away.
Craig: I’m enraptured by your beauty. So find what suits your schedule. Find what suits your personality. This is the same advice I give to people when they’re trying to find a diet because a million of them work. Find the one that is going to work for you. So look for that one thing. Be serious about your commitment. Maybe you still really have that dream of being an actor and you’re doing the training on the side and you want to make more money so you came to this event to learn about how to get more clients but you still want to be the actor. Go do the acting thing then. Give it your hardest hardcore shot. And then when you’re ready to focus on something else, go and do it but don’t try and do a million things.
Jason: Yeah, for sure. Give me like maybe your top three tips if someone’s starting an online business. We just kind of covered it a little bit. Let’s say they decide blogging is my main thing, for example. So they have that, they have their singular focus and they want to kind of just make some waves and then start to be able to monetize it and grow an audience. What would you say their first steps should be?
Craig: Okay, first step they need is a big idea. So they need to have something that differentiates themselves. There are really four things to the big idea. It’s differentiation. You have to be different because there’s so many people out there and at the end of the day, you have to answer this question which is tough on your ego which is: Why would anybody choose you and your solution over anything else that is out there? Anything else that is out there can include all these other experts who are on TV or selling infomercial products or all these other experts who are successful online. Then other options could be just going to a regular gym or going to Weight Watchers or whatever. Then there’s another option of not doing anything. Why would they do your stuff at all? So you have to be able to answer that question. That’s in the differentiation.
Another thing is that it needs to be specific. It needs to clear and a big promise, a specific big promise. If somebody shows up on your website, what are you really about? Are you trying to be that person who’s talking about CrossFit and boot camps and interval training? Pick something and focus on it. You have a great example of that. And then you would be helped by being contrarian, which means to be able to stand out and differentiate yourself by having a message that is the opposite of what most people think. Then be as specific as possible.
Jason: And if you’re going to do that, you can’t have thin skin or you’ll—
Craig: No, you can try and avoid criticism as much as possible but it’s difficult to avoid all of it. So you do need to have thick skin and realize that everyone’s hater has the same name, “Anonymous.” Everybody who makes fun of Justin Bieber, if they saw Justin Bieber would try and get in a photo with Justin Bieber.
Jason: Of course, they would.
Craig: Most people wouldn’t even mouth him off to his face.
Jason: Did you ever see that thing that Jimmy Fallon did with Robinson Cano when he left the Yankees and went to Seattle?
Jason: So they had a billboard of him in New York and they had people mouthing off to Cano saying, “You scumbag,” “You sellout,” “You left New York.” And then Cano came out from behind it and they just hugged him and took a picture with him. That’s a good example.
Craig: Oh, yeah. Well, that’s exactly it. That’s great. No one ever walks up to me in these seminars and says, “You’re such a jerk for saying don’t do cardio.” No one’s ever said that but I know there are websites online, blog posts and even like a few deranged people have like full on websites devoted to hating me. But there are hate sites to websites.
Jason: I have a couple of those.
Craig: Yeah, I think it’s ridiculous. What do you think is the best biggest idea in the last 15 years in the book world?
Jason: The best biggest idea in the book world?
Craig: Yeah, so book title that’s the biggest idea. We know the guy.
Jason: Drawing a blank.
Craig: Tim! Tim, 4-Hour Workweek.
Jason: Of course. Right Sure.
Craig: So 4-Hour Workweek is the best big idea.
Jason: Yup, without a doubt.
Craig: Half of his success of that book had to be from the name and half of it from his incredible perseverance of promoting it—he did so much—and then half of it from the content inside so those three halves.
Jason: And he’s got a ton of haters, too.
Craig: Yeah, and again those guys, especially Tim’s haters, I bet you those guys would love him even more. I think it was Sigmund Freud who said that we hate people because of what we see in them that reminds us of ourselves so I think people are just jealous of Tim because they want to be in Tim’s shoes so bad. That’s why he gets so much hate because people want to be him so much. Yeah, they would really be in his fan club more than any haters of anybody.
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s talk about you personally. What was a big business breakthrough for you? We talked about when you hired your first coach. Maybe some of that we haven’t discussed yet, maybe the last few years.
Craig: That was huge.
Jason: Which I think is a good point to bring up. Successful people hire coaches.
Craig: Absolutely, every single person. Even in Silicon Valley there’s a guy named, I think, his name was Bob Campbell or something but he’s known as the coach of Steve Jobs and all these CEOs. Everybody knows this guy and all the young people like Zuckerberg gets him as a coach, I think. It’s just like as a mentor you can bounce ideas off of but you have to have somebody who have—
Jason: You need that because you can’t see your own kind of business, even your own life, whatever. You need that outside perspective.
Craig: Right. You need outside perspective from somebody who has expertise. But the most important part is listen, I did all these things wrong; don’t do these things. So for example, Bedros has 730 people here but for the first three years he didn’t make any money at his seminars because he didn’t know what he’s doing. So this is like year 9 to get to 730 but Mike Parella had this Martial Arts Business Summit that Bedros and I spoke at in February. He had 430 people in his second year and made a ton of money because Bedros coached him on every single aspect of it.
Jason: Here’s what I did wrong; those are my mistakes.
Craig: Right, here’s the crew you use, here are the manuals you use. So definitely getting a mentor was absolutely the biggest thing to me. I kick myself—there are not a lot of things I regret that I wish I had done sooner but that is definitely one of them. I was just too cheap to do it. It was so stupid but I’m half Scottish and half German so cheap and efficient. So that is definitely something that you need to get. Even if you’re at the gym, just find somebody that’s sensible and has the results that you want and get some tips, like hey, just give a couple of things to do and not to do and away you go.
Jason: So that changed things dramatically for you. That was 2006?
Jason: So what about now? That’s almost ten years ago. Since then you’ve been super successful. Is there something in the last one, two or three years that was really a breakthrough that took you to the next level?
Craig: Yeah, and it’s simply return to fundamentals. We had our biggest year ever by far last year. We sold this online video program. We sold 60,000 or 70,000 copies of it because of good copy, which is good salesmanship. We had a good video sales letter. That’s all that matters. Somebody asked me, do I need to have like this big famous face in front of my product? No. You can be a no-name if your sales copy is good. That’s the most important thing.
But even I made all these mistakes. I got to go out and start a YouTube channel. I got to do all these other things or create new products. That’s the easy way out as opposed to taking your one big idea and selling it better. Last year, that’s the only reason. I could have done a million YouTube videos. There’s no way we would have sold that many products. I could have done podcasts. I could have done speaking. I could have done so much stuff. I could have tried to like sell it on the street corner but nothing would have sold that many except for good sales copy, which you can leverage online and be able to buy media to it.
Jason: It’s funny how a lot of times the thing that makes the biggest difference is the hardest thing and people would do a hundred other easier things. They’ll always take the easier way out.
Craig: Right, like I want to get my squat up so I should probably do a reverse hypers and glute ham raises and weighted sit-ups. Well, do you squat heavy?
Jason: Right, no.
Craig: Well, I think I know what your problem is. So we do that and at the end of the day the fundamentals are you’ve got to go back and just focus on the most important thing. Everybody thinks that the biggest problem in their online business is not getting enough traffic but I could send you a million people to your website and if your website is not set up for selling and your website doesn’t have good sales copy on, no one will buy. Or I could send you a million people that are the wrong audience and you won’t get sales. If you have good sales copy, you won’t have a traffic problem because people will send you traffic as an affiliate or you’ll be able to go out and go to Facebook and buy ads and make your money back. But otherwise, you don’t have a traffic problem.
It took me actually years to understand that with people telling me that because I would sit down with like Mike Geary and this guy Mike Hill and I would say if I could just get more traffic and they’d be like, I could send you all the traffic in the world but it’s not going to do you any good. It just took me a long time to really get that. It’s hard to go and write this stuff and make it work but that’s the most important thing in your business. So if you don’t have an online business or you’ve got a personal training studio, if you’re a car salesman, it’s not about what you wear. It’s not about if you send out thank-you cards. That stuff helps but it really is have you honed your sales pitch? Until you hone your sales pitch and get it working and study it, there are not going to be a lot of big breakthroughs.
Jason: Yeah, and what do you say to people who have a resistance to selling? They just think oh, I have a good product, I have a good service, I have a good restaurant, whatever it may be, I’m not going to sell because that’s selling out or it’s not my style.
Craig: Well, there’s a lot of people that go bankrupt because of that unfortunately. A lot of people have that idea and that’s not how the world works obviously unfortunately. So I like to change the message that selling can also be called persuading. So every time your kid is up until 8:00 and he needs to be in bed at 8:15, you got to sell the kid on going to bed.
Jason: You’re selling 24/7.
Craig: Yeah, all the time. I forget who it was. I think it was Daniel Pink, who wrote something about selling recently with that exact same message. He wrote that book on motivation, Drive or Driven or something. Then this is really is like some selling book out now which is the same message. Everybody’s selling. Get over your fear of it and understand—I told this story today and people actually started clapping; I didn’t expect it—people that just want stuff for free will never change. Never. Because I spent like six weeks working on a Men’s Health project where they sent me ten guys and we’re going to do these transformations for the website. I worked for a couple of hours on each of them with meal plans and workout programs. It was like an 8-week program and none of them lasted past four weeks. They all disappeared because they had no skin in the game.
So people are only going to change their lives when they buy something from you. So you have to go out and sell because that’s the way that you’re going to help people. Isabel Del Los Rios, I’m pretty sure she has a million customers and she’s able to help a million people, a million people around the world love her and have changed their lives because she was able to sell them on her idea. I think it’s really powerful once you get to that point. Think about what you love in your life. Okay, maybe you love your iPhone but you only got that love and joy from your iPhone by buying it. Somebody sold it to you. Your best memories often involve you putting a little bit of cash into it or a road trip or whatever. So you need to get some skin in the game and you need to get over it.
Jason: Yeah, the more you invest in yourself—I’ve given people the same advice for free but then when they pay someone for the exact same advice it’s so much more valuable. I have coaching clients that they could get the same advice for free from me. They probably have in the past and when they write me a big check for it is when they’ll do it. It’s just like you said having skin in the game.
Let’s shift gears a little bit. Has there been a big personal breakthrough for you in the last few years? Last time, we talked about some of your struggles, some things you overcome. Is there anything that stands out as like wow okay, finally?
Craig: Yeah, this was probably a couple of more years back but it’s basically realizing that even though I can do a lot of stuff on my own, it’s not good for me to do everything on my own or to just to be alone. I could literally just stay up in that hotel room for three days, probably even three weeks. I’d just go to the gym and not talk to anybody. I think I would be okay but I think there’s plenty research out there that shows you do need to be around people more. But I’m just one of those people who doesn’t need people around but I’ve just spent a lot more time in investing in relationships with friends, investing a lot more in the people that work for me. I get a lot of joy and stuff out of that but I’m also really happy on my own. I just have to like remember in situations like that okay, stop being alone and go spend more time with people because I really am totally fine on my own but I need to ignore that fact. So that for me is something that I’ve changed a lot. Basically, what I was wrong about was that I’m fine on my own. I am fine on my own but probably I’ll be much better if I’m not on my own.
Jason: Yeah, gotcha. So tell me something you were wrong about. If you look back at like five or ten years, what do you think you were wrong about let’s say business wise and personally?
Craig: Well, that was a personal one. It was that I’d be fine on my own. Even in business, I didn’t ever think that I needed to do all my business by myself so my partnerships have actually been the greatest, one of the greatest things for my business. I have a partnership with Bedros in our mastermind and I loved doing that.
Jason: Well, let’s talk about that. What do you think are the things that make a partnership successful and what could make it just go to shit?
Craig: I think it depends on your knowledge of the person. Dave Kekich has this rule. I’ve talked about his hundred Kekich credos and I like those a lot. He had one that said you can’t go into business unless you have known somebody for ten years or you have references for ten years. That’s a little much obviously, especially when you’re starting out at 23. I knew that guy when he was 13. That doesn’t make sense.
But you do need to know somebody. You can’t jump into a partnership really quickly, just like any partnership in life. It really is going to benefit you from going on a few dates with somebody as opposed to just going right from the bar to the wedding chapel in Vegas. So Bedros and I knew each other for about a year and a half, maybe even two years. I joined his mastermind group as a client before I’d ever met him personally. Then we started running an online mastermind—
Jason: Now when you joined his, were you running yours simultaneously?
Craig: Yeah, I was running mine but his was not specific to online businesses. It was just like his first mastermind group. Then we split them so that he went and did the training only and he and I joined up on the info mastermind group. So we knew each other but with Bedros, you get to know him pretty quick. It’s like you accelerate from knowing him for a year, you’ve known him for 40.
Jason: Right, for sure.
Craig: So that’s really important, is to know the person. I don’t think I’m in any business partnership where our best skills are the same. So there’s a lot of difference. Bedros has really coached me and helped me become better at the things he’s better at and then there are things that I’m better at than he is. So that works really well. Then it’s the same with Matt Smith. Matt Smith is my partner in Early to Rise. I mean he’s just so good at so many things that I have no experience with like in the leadership and the big idea aspects. He’s been really fantastic as a business partner. Then I have a third one but I can’t remember who it is.
Jason: What do you think about personality-wise? Is it important that you guys are not 100% the same?
Craig: Well, it never is. No one’s like you. But yeah, no one’s going to be 100% the same but. I think generally you have to have a pretty similar philosophical output. I actually just listened to a really excellent interview with Penn Jillette, very, very interesting character and they talked about the partnership with him and Teller.
Jason: Because they’re very different, right?
Craig: In a way, like philosophically they’re not but obviously in their schtick they are. He had certain rules for their partnership and it was just like they’re best friends but they never hang out socially. They are very similar in that they both don’t drink, they’re both, “to be early for a meeting is to be on time.” I really like this phrase they had. To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is inexcusable. I was just blown away by the amount of skill and effort that they’ve honed over the years and how methodical they are about what they do and also how much that guy gets done. They got their TV show which has like—
Jason: I didn’t even realize they had a TV show.
Craig: They have a TV show called the Bullshit and it’s all about like they’ll go and they’ll cover the Tony Robbins fire walk and they’ll breakdown the science of it.
Craig: Yeah, and they have—
Jason: What channel is that on?
Craig: I don’t know but you can find a lot of them on YouTube.
Jason: But it’s on cable though regularly?
Craig: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s been on, like they have over a hundred episodes I think.
Jason: Oh wow, and they still do their Vegas show?
Craig: Oh yeah.
Jason: Like nightly?
Craig: Yeah, they’re at the Rio and they’ve been partners for 40 years.
Jason: Oh my God. Have you ever seen the show?
Craig: No, I really want to go see it though.
Jason: Especially after probably hearing them—were you listening to them or read that on the internet?
Craig: I listened to him because he’s speaking at Dan Kennedy’s event and they did an interview for it. He was actually into juggling and he was into magic and then he found out about how all the tricks were fake and stuff and he got really angry and he hated all adults for like a long time. It was a real, real crazy story. Then he met Teller who was a magician. So he was just still a juggler at the time and then they came up with a way to justify doing magic and sharing like how the tricks worked and stuff like that, without compromising his personal beliefs.
Jason: Oh, see I don’t really know about this. Is that what they do at the show? They do it and they expose it?
Craig: I think so.
Craig: One of their best shows is like an expose on how ridiculous recycling is.
Craig: Yeah, and they also have one that’s really popular on how ridiculous bottled water is.
Jason: Interesting. What is it called again, the show?
Craig: You just want me to swear. I’ve sworn twice after not swearing for like three years. So it’s called Bullspit. They’ve been nominated for like 16 Emmy Awards and stuff. But then he has a podcast, and he has the shows, and he speaks and he’s a record producer.
Jason: Wow, and so does Teller do anything? Would he just show up with the shows? Penn’s basically running everything?
Craig: Yeah, I guess so. One last thing about their partnership is that they completely trust each other because they know that he’s not showing up hungover and he’s on time and we’re down to the details so it was really fantastic. So that’s an aspect of partnership that is trust. It’s knowing the person.
Jason: Was that in something that Dan Kennedy sends?
Craig: Yeah. I actually have the CD maybe even upstairs. I could let you borrow it.
Jason: Okay, that would be great.
Craig: Yeah, it was really fantastic.
Jason: Nice. Let’s see? What else? Do you use any specific tools or apps to be more productive or help you out on your computer, your phone or anything?
Craig: This phone?
Jason: Your old Blackberry. What is that, a ‘98?
Craig: I actually think this is the phone that I replaced after losing my phone at Lollapalooza in 2007.
Jason: Not at Lollapalooza? Are you serious?
Craig: I think it might be. Or I got it in 2009. So ladies and gentlemen, it is a Blackberry with a keyboard on it and I love this phone.
Jason: Still takes those pictures that look like—
Craig: Oh yeah, they’re grainy. It doesn’t have a trackball on the side. I have never used an app.
Jason: Even on your computer, do you use any specific app for writing like one of those Ommwriter or Hemingway or anything like that?
Craig: I didn’t know you can put an app on a computer.
Jason: All right, so you’re as bad as me.
Craig: Yeah. I don’t use any apps. I hear about them and Uber sounds amazing but I’ve never used it.
Jason: They have Uber in Toronto obviously, right?
Craig: Yeah, but you need the app.
Jason: Oh, you can’t even get apps on that phone, can you?
Craig: Oh, I don’t want to get an app on the phone. It’s just like I don’t want to pop the phone’s cherry so I don’t use any stuff. What was the other thing, the app and then the what?
Jason: That was it, just any kind of apps that you use that help you.
Craig: No, I’ve got one app. It’s called self-discipline. I think that at the end of the day there are always good things that help out but at the end of the day you got to glue yourself to the chair and do the work.
Jason: For sure. A couple of quick rapid fire questions here. Death row meal, your last meal, what would it be?
Craig: I would have Jen Ferruggia come and make me a meal.
Jason: Oh wow, there you go.
Craig: That way I know I’d live for at least three more days because she makes so much food, right?
Jason: Right, exactly. What about one album to listen to forever?
Craig: I don’t know.
Jason: Or maybe a band. Pick any album or a band. That opens it up a little more. Just one band you could listen to forever.
Craig: You know what I would listen to the best of Chopin piano on YouTube. There’s a six hour thing that I listen to all the time.
Jason: Really? Do you listen to that while you’re writing or working?
Craig: I make sure that I listen to 30 minutes of classical music every day.
Jason: I started doing that just within the last month. I listen to it when I’m reading and writing.
Craig: Yeah, I really like the piano stuff and his stuff seems to be pretty good. Because I don’t know. I have no idea who else I would choose.
Jason: Right. I just got on iTunes—I just went—there was Beethoven for Brain Power. I downloaded that and then I downloaded the top 50 classical songs of all time just one on one album or something.
Craig: You know it’s best to get out of this stuff because when you listen to this stuff that’s like the best of all time, you recognize them and then it’s like, ah I’ve heard this one and you start humming it and stuff so go to something—
Jason: It’s true but the top 50 though, I’ve only heard like seven, to be honest with you. It’s not like I listen to that much classical music. But I’ll check out—so what is it? Chopin?
Craig: If you just type in “Chopin classical piano.”
Jason: Like on YouTube?
Craig: On YouTube.
Jason: It’s a six hour thing?
Craig: Yeah, because there are guys that I don’t know if they make a business out of this but they just upload. This one guy has a channel of like six-hour sets from all these composers.
Craig: Yeah, it’s really cool. When you read Daily Rituals and you read about the composers, now you have something to kind of tie it into.
Jason: What is—?
Craig: What if you want like some stuff that’s like really dark and disturbing, there’s Rachmaninoff, a composer. He has some wacky stuff on there.
Jay: I don’t know if I need to get that dark.
Craig: No, not with classical music. No, it’s not very good for relaxing.
Jay: What about a book? You’re a big reader so what’s one or two books you’ve read recently that you think everybody should read?
Craig: Well, everyone should read this because I read it twice a year. It’s the Art of Living by Sharon Lebell and that’s her translation of Epictetus, his Stoicism. I buy it for a lot of people that are struggling and it’s great because they’re really one-page lessons. You read a little bit about him and basically she’s got like 50 lessons in there. They’re all about a page long. I really think everybody should get a copy of that.
I’ve talked a lot about Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. It’s another book that’s really influential in two ways. Physically, look at what these people went through. If I’ve got to walk a mile to the store, suck it up and do that. Then also just obviously mental. You can change your mental opinion of whatever you’re going through if he could. The thing about Victor Frankl, he chose to go to a concentration camp.
Craig: Because he had a way out. He had access to leaving the country but he returned because his parents were going.
Craig: So he chose to return, knowing that he was going to go to a concentration camp.
Craig: That’s an insane story about that guy and then he went and spent those years there and survived. Basically, the big message is how you thought about the conditions you were in. Same with a very similar story, I think the guy’s names is John Stockdale who was a Vietnam prisoner of war. He said that guys that made it were the people that believed they were going to get out but didn’t really think it was going to be in a few weeks from now. The guys who said we’re getting out by Christmas, as soon as Christmas came and went basically that was it for them. So it’s having a positive attitude. Knowing that you’re going to get out of your situation is the most important thing.
Jay: Have you met anyone who survived a concentration camp?
Jay: My next door neighbor actually, Lily.
Jay: Yeah. She lives right next door to us so we go, we visit here all the time, have her over to eat and whatnot. She has told me the stories a couple of times over lunch. It’s unbelievable. You could hear the stories. You could watch a movie but to sit there and look at someone who was there, it’s crazy.
Craig: Now I’ve always wondered because I have one training client whose mother-in-law had gone through it and he just said she just had not socially adjusted. So I just wonder how long it takes somebody to socially adjust from that.
Jay: I don’t know. Lily seems fine. She’s as nice as could be. You wouldn’t know. I don’t know.
Craig: And it’s been a long time but obviously it’s not something that people are ever expected to deal with.
Jay: No, for sure. One last question: if you could go back 20 years to your 20-year old self, what advice you would give?
Craig: I would say take on trying to improve yourself quicker. Don’t be so cheap is another one. Also I’ll rely on other people to do things for me a lot more than I should have.
Jay: How so?
Craig: A couple of examples. For example, I didn’t know how to do laundry till I was like 22 or 23.
Jay: I don’t think I did either.
Craig: It’s stuff like that. It’s funny and I don’t like doing laundry and I still try and find people to do it but have a little bit more personal responsibility and self-reliance. Also I love my best friend as much as possible and J-Rock’s listening to this. He’s a huge fan. He had his first coffee the other week and it was Renegade Roast and as much as I loved living with him for a couple of years, I wish I would have maybe moved out sooner and lived on my own sooner. Even in college, now that I think of it, I wish I’d just moved out on my own rather than living with a bunch of guys. It was great but I would have been fine on my own. But then I’d get myself back down to that other mistake of being on my own too much.
Jay: Right. Catch 22.
Craig: Ah, Yes, I guess come on, suck it up and be a bit more of a man there.
Jay: Yup. Well, always a pleasure talking to you, my friend. Oh shit, seat just broke. Tell us, everyone, where we can find your stuff online, check you out and follow you.
Craig: Well, hopefully I’m going to be online very soon at this very podcast interviewing you.
Craig: Turning the tables so that will be good.
Craig: So I’ll guess you’ll have to put this up before that but that’s okay. Where everyone should find me, if you’re into fitness go to TurbulenceTrainingFanpage.com and you’ll join me on Facebook. If you’re into personal development, go to EarlytoRise.com and read our awesome essays there, daily wisdom.
Jay: There is a lot of good stuff there.
Craig: Yeah, I think we have amazing stuff. We bought that business in 2011 and my mentor and the guy we bought it from, Mark Ford, probably wrote about 1,500 essays on it for 15 years before that so there are literally thousands of great pieces.
Jay: You can get lost on there for hours. There’s a lot of good stuff out there.
Craig: So there’s really great content on there and we’d love to help people at that one.
Jay: Absolutely. Thanks guys. We’ll be back next week.